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Putin denies US claims that Russia has intentions use nuclear weapons in space

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Tuesday that Moscow has no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space, claiming that the country has only developed space capabilities similar to those of the U.S.

Putin’s statement follows the White House confirmation last week that Russia has obtained a “troubling” anti-satellite weapon capability, although such a weapon is not operational yet. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said it would violate the international Outer Space Treaty, but declined to comment on whether the weapon is nuclear-capable.

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The treaty signed by more than 130 countries, including Russia, prohibits the deployment of “nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction” in orbit or the stationing of “weapons in outer space in any other manner.” The White House said it would look to engage the Russians directly on the concerns.

“Our position is quite clear and transparent: we have always been and remain categorically opposed to the deployment of nuclear weapons in space,” Putin said. “Just the opposite, we are urging everyone to adhere to all the agreements that exist in this sphere.”

Speaking during a meeting with his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, Putin noted that Russia has only developed space capabilities that “other nations, including the U.S. have.”

Russia Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, listens to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“And they know it,” he added.

“We haven’t deployed any nuclear weapons in space or any elements of them to use against satellites or to create fields where satellites can’t work efficiently,” Shoigu said.

Shoigu alleged that the White House could have made the allegations of a new Russian space capability in order to force Congress to support aid for Ukraine and also encourage Moscow to reenter nuclear arms control talks that Russia has suspended amid the tensions with the U.S. over Ukraine.

Putin didn’t rule out possible future contacts with the U.S., but reaffirmed his view that Washington’s push for Russia’s defeat in Ukraine makes them impossible for now.

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“The U.S. and the West, for one thing, are calling for Russia’s strategic defeat, while, on the other hand, they would like to have a dialogue on strategic stability, pretending that those things aren’t connected,” he said. “It won’t work.”

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